Foon tries to gloss over local government racism

Race Relations Commissioner Meng Foon tried to gloss over blatant racism in the Local Government Act 2002 when he said he was disappointed that our pamphlet, delivered at the weekend, criticised tribal appointees and Maori wards or constituencies in local government.

Mr Foon, who had been Gisborne’s mayor for six terms, added to his denunciation of our pamphlet a moral obligation for a bit of racial veneration when he told the New Zealand Herald that "in a multicultural society with bicultural foundations, New Zealand must honour the tangata whenua status of Maori."

While asserting that “various legislation in New Zealand, under the Treaty of Waitangi, meant councils had obligations to ensure fair representation of Maori”, the Herald reporter did not stop to think that racial separatism in local government appears to be required by the Local Government Act 2002, which says:

in order to recognise and respect the Crown’s responsibility to take appropriate account of the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi and to maintain and improve opportunities for Maori to contribute to local government decision-making processes, Parts 2 and 6 provide principles and requirements for local authorities that are intended to facilitate participation by Maori in local authority decision-making processes.

Then Section 81 of the Act says:

A local authority must—(a) establish and maintain processes to provide opportunities for Maori to contribute to the decision-making processes of the local authority; and (b) consider ways in which it may foster the development of Māori capacity to contribute to the decision-making processes of the local authority; and (c) provide relevant information to Māori for the purposes of paragraphs (a) and (b).

One must point out that already Maori, as New Zealand citizens, have every opportunity to contribute to the decision-making processes of the local authority, that Maori capacity is fostered along with the capacity of everyone, and that relevant information is provided to everyone.

This Local Government Act Treaty clause appears to regard Maori as somehow a separate class of citizen who exist in a partnership relationship with the Crown

But if you go back to Article 3 of the Treaty, Maori in 1840 were given the rights and privileges of British subjects. Since most non-Maori living in New Zealand at that time were already British subjects, the Treaty put everyone on the same footing and, 179 years later, we are all New Zealand citizens – still on the same footing.

This supposedly separate class of citizen is purported to exist in a partnership relationship with the Crown, which is also odd because a citizen cannot at the same time be both a subject and a partner of the Crown.

This somewhat vague and high-sounding Treaty clause and Section 81 have been invoked to justify all manner of Maori committees, boards, wards, and appointees that have appeared since 2001, when Environment Bay of Plenty set up three Maori constituencies.

These “Maori” add-ons in local government have little tangible value considering most voters and ratepayers appear to want more or less the same outcomes from local government irrespective of ancestry – better roads, water, sewage, and drainage –  as our pamphlet says.

The Herald invites comments on the pamphlet. Go to to write your comment at the end of the story.

And don’t forget to ask candidates where they stand on tribal appointees and Maori wards or constituencies in local government.

The burnt church lie that won’t die

Activists are rewriting New Zealand history, casting the Government and colonists as villains and Maori as innocent victims. One such instance is the re-shaping of what happened at Rangiaowhia on February 21, 1864.

When two high school students were told, in 2014, that colonial troops herded women and children into a church at Rangiaowhia on that day and then set the church on fire, killing 144, they were deeply shocked and petitioned Parliament to set up “a national day to commemorate those who lost their lives in the land wars, both Maori and colonial”. [1]

However, you don’t have to look far to see that the story is at best incorrect or at worst, a false statement made with deliberate intent to deceive, otherwise known as a lie. Why? See

Petitions update

We launched a petition which asks Parliament to amend the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act 2011 to restore public ownership of the coastal area, put all claims through the High Court, and repeal customary marine title, while affirming customary rights. We have picked up 3281 signatures. We need your support. The petition may be signed at

Protesters at Ihumatao, near the Auckland Airport, have been quiet for the past week. We launched a petition which asks the police to uphold the rights of the landowner by evicting the protesters, and for the Government to regard Treaty settlements involving that area as full and final, to allow both Te Kawerau a Maki and Fletchers to proceed with their lawful business. We have collected 2480 signatures. We need your support. The petition may be signed at

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